Review Responses:

PsychicEevee0103: The mind can do that sometimes, where you expect to see one thing, even though you know it's changed.

ProfessorLugia: Thank you for the praise; I try to focus on my characters' development and make it seem natural.

Tony Anderson: Look no further, because the conclusion's right here. :)

Emblem of Light: I'm glad you think highly of my work.

Now, the finale of The Future of Little Hope.


Chapter 6: Holding Out for the Light

As Team Rapid moved through the underground corridor, they told Grovyle about the order they would emerge and how they would group up to fly to Temporal Tower's pinnacle once in the past. He wasn't happy about being one of the last ones through the dimensional hole, but accepted that he and Martha would be most likely able to cut through any Sableye that tried to get in their way. But then a snag in their plan occurred to him.

"Wait," Grovyle suddenly said. "Such a long trip to the past is almost sure to knock us out before arrival. We won't be any good to Nate if-"

Tisha waved a hand, "Oh, we figured that out when Dusknoir gave us his update. He sent a Substitute to us after staging your capture and it told us about that."

"You see, he said that his energy got sapped from the travel through time," Maribel explained. "And it only took us a few seconds to figure out, if getting drained knocks us out, then a Reviver Seed should keep us topped off for our arrival."

Wattson rummaged through the Treasure Bag and passed Reviver Seeds to Martha, Tempest, Maribel, Tisha, Grovyle and Terrence, "Those of you who don't have a strong grip, hold it under your tongues. You don't wanna risk losing it on the way. And don't grip it too tight, or you might crush it before it's used up all its energy."


Primal Dialga once again readied to make a dimensional hole for his right hand Pokémon to travel back in time with six of his best Sableye. He had to make it at the foot of the stockade so the Sableye staying here could be ready to take Nate prisoner while he was unconscious from the trip. Dusknoir's gift of temporal energy was set to return him to after the last point he traveled from, after all. Whether by a few minutes or days' time, the ghost had to avoid appearing twice in the same instance so as to not cause a temporal paradox.

The former Temporal Pokémon roared and caused a portal to open. He had set it to connect to the Hidden Land a few minutes after Dusknoir had last left the past. More than enough time for his followers to recover.


Covering their ears at the loud roar, Team Rapid got into formation. Grovyle shook a bit, but steeled himself.


Dusknoir looked at the dimensional hole in front of him and turned around to face Primal Dialga, looking past his men to him.

"I thank you, Master Dialga for always ensuring our continued existence."

His six Sableye chuckled and Primal Dialga said nothing, only growling for Dusknoir to go into the portal.

The mouth on Dusknoir's stomach opened, revealing a Luminous Orb he'd kept there since he found one in a mystery dungeon in the past. He held it in between the mouth's teeth to the fallen legendary and Sableyes' surprise, "I'm afraid I cannot follow that order."

The Ghost-type crushed the orb and blinded the Sableye and Primal Dialga with the flash of light. Primal Dialga immediately started shifting the portal's emergence point to the future, so it would come out after the planet's paralysis.

But Dusknoir turned around and used his stock of temporal energy to overlap his own portal over the dimensional hole, causing it to fix the point a second after the time Primal Dialga had it at. He could only hope it wasn't too late.

'Now!' he telepathically signaled as he released Foresight to solidify the dazed Sableye while firing a Dark Pulse at Primal Dialga to distract him.

The ground burst behind Dusknoir and Augustus and Natalie came forward to attack the Sableye with Brick Break and Double Kick, respectively.

Primal Dialga regained his bearings after the dark energy hit him and roared in pure rage, sounding the alarm. Dusknoir flew up and hit him with an Ice Punch in response to draw his attention.

Next, Terrence emerged from the hole and folded his wings to run through the dimensional hole. Tempest buzzed right behind him, zipping through the air in a flitting pattern to avoid the arriving Pokemon. The Sableye had long since been knocked out, but Pokémon from within Temporal Tower had begun to descend.

Two Claydol attempted to subdue Natalie while a Golbat went for Augustus. But a brown blur cut into the Psychic Pokémon with Night Slash and a Blizzard from the hole froze them along with the Golbat. Dusknoir took advantage of Primal Dialga's negative reaction to the cold to start charging a Shadow Ball in his stomach's mouth.

Chad looked and saw a Ditto transform into a copy of him, so he engaged it to prevent it from intercepting Maribel and Tisha as they went into the dimensional hole next.

Bronzong and Alakazam came next, but several bee-like drones emerged from the hole to attack them. Regina flew up, and a Crobat attempting to sneak attack her got zapped with Shock Wave. She and Ferra cleared a path, barring any Pokémon getting in the way while Martha and Grovyle came out of the tunnel.

Primal Dialga saw them as he raised some stone with Ancient Power to absorb Dusknoir's Shadow Ball and began readying his Roar of Time. At the furious roar, Grovyle hesitated to look back.

"Don't look back, go!" Martha shouted in frustration around the Reviver Seed in her mouth.

Knowing that the attack had enough power to completely wipe out all of Team Rapid in front of Primal Dialga, Dusknoir did the only thing that he could to preserve the future.

Dissolving into shadows, he reappeared in his former master's direct line of fire.

'I don't know if it can hold up the entire length of the attack, but I have to try!'

Primal Dialga fired the Roar of Time, heedless of his traitorous follower and his other servants also in range. Dusknoir threw up a Protect wall, causing the beam to divert around it in smaller streams, but he struggled to maintain it with his hands held forward. Making it partial instead of the full sphere lessened the strain, but he had to put everything in it to stop the former Temporal Pokémon's ultimate attack.

Grovyle stared for a moment in surprise that Dusknoir did such a selfless act until Wattson shoved him towards the dimensional hole.

"Go already!" he ordered while using Thunderpunch on a Hypno nearby.

Grovyle nodded and dashed after Martha as they both went into the portal.

Psymon came up and noticed their departure before shouting, "Dusknoir! Everybody's through!"

The portal disappeared as the Ghost-type spared a bit of his concentration to cut the connection. From his perspective, he only heard his name being shouted in slow motion, and did so before not paying the rest of the message any mind. He focused on his defense, for he felt as if he had held against Primal Dialga's attack for a whole minute already.

'How did Martha do this herself?!' he wondered incredulously. But he already knew the answer after asking that question. His role demanded that he practice offensive moves more than defensive, whereas Martha had likely trained her Protect to last several minutes in preparation of Grovyle's rescue.

Cracks started spreading across his barrier soon after that revelation. He groaned from the pressure, 'Only one chance… If offense is my specialty, I'll use it!'

Dusknoir formed a Substitute and let it take over maintaining the Protect, which weakened it, but allowed him enough time. Packing all of his remaining energy into the attack, Dusknoir charged up a Hyper Beam in his stomach.

The mouth opened slightly, glowing with the pent-up energy as he shouted, "You shall not keep this world in darkness any longer!"

His clone's barrier shattered right as Dusknoir's stomach opened wide, firing the energy in a wide-spread attack that managed to push the attack back slightly. Gasping with slight relief at being taken out of the distorted time zone, he continued putting everything he had into deflecting the Roar of Time. Right as he felt himself giving out, a large stream of water joined his attack.

He chanced a glance and saw Psymon helping him, most of the Pokémon that had attacked now knocked out. Yrja also joined in with an Ice Beam and Primal Dialga started running out of steam without the advantage of distorting time around his targets.

Soon, the attack sputtered away and the three attacks went forward to hit him. Primal Dialga wasn't overly affected, but had to catch his breath, as did Dusknoir. The ghost supported himself on the ground with his hands, noticing his form flickering from using too much energy.

Psymon immediately surged forward in an Aqua Jet and he span, allowing Yrja to freeze it into an ice Aqua Jet before she turned back to fight the other Pokémon. The ice missile shattered into Primal Dialga's neck, leaving several scratches and the tip embedded inside. Natalie also ran forward and hit the giant Pokémon's leg with Double Kick, forcing him to take a knee.

Augustus popped up from beneath Primal Dialga and hit him in the stomach with Brick Break and Chad flew by, using Slash on the other side of his neck. Meanwhile, Regina, Ferra and Yrja cleaned up the rest of Primal Dialga's servants.

Wattson charged forward and slid on the ground, using Low Kick on the rear leg corresponding to Primal Dialga's already downed one, making him fall to his side.

When Dusknoir got what little energy remained in his body back, he knew he had to act quickly before the legendary Pokémon retaliated. He shadow traveled to Primal Dialga's face and quickly used Spite, black rings of energy emanating from his eye.

Primal Dialga batted him away with Dragon Claw for his trouble.

Dusknoir half-phased into the ground upon impact, before barely managing to pull himself up to a sitting position. He looked and saw his form flickering worse and noticed that the scratch wounds were widening and leaking shadow energy. He looked at his hand and saw it starting to leak trails of shadowy mist.

Chuckling, the Gripper Pokémon muttered, "I suppose that's what happens when I put my all in one attack and then try to keep going…"

He shut his eye in resignation, 'I've done my part. I've shorted out Primal Dialga's Roar of Time. The others should be able to handle him now until history changes.'

Taking comfort in the fact that the new Pokémon would live in peace, Dusknoir was ready to die when something landed in the middle of his essence. He opened his eye in surprise, feeling new energy flow into his body. A Reviver Seed floated in the middle of his half-dissolved body, bringing the mist back together around it.

"You think we'd let you die?" he heard Wattson shout while using Thunder Punch to return an Aura Sphere to Primal Dialga. "You're a teammate too, now get up!"

With great difficulty, Dusknoir concentrated on the healing energy and pulled himself together, reforming a hand to ready a Will-O-Wisp flame. He threw it at Primal Dialga, starting to float again as his other arm was halfway reformed. His ghost tail reformed as well, his torso reassembling from the top and bottom towards the middle. The scratch wounds healed last, and not all the way, leaving three silver scars across the face on his stomach.

Dusknoir held his hands to the side, summoning rings of dark energy before firing a Dark Pulse at Primal Dialga. Wattson used Thunderbolt while Psymon and Natalie both used Ice Beam and Augustus used Energy Ball. The five attacks hit at the same time, detonating in an explosion, and Chad held his leek skyward as wind swirled around it before he swung it back and forth furiously, sending repeated Air Slashes into the smoke cloud.

The blades of wind caused the smoke to part slightly, and the Pokémon saw Primal Dialga breathing hard. Ferra, Yrja and Regina came in as well, ready to strike if he moved. The former Temporal Pokémon glared at all of them, but then a golden ball of light emerged from his foot, causing his head to rear up in shock.

The other Pokémon were surprised as well until Dusknoir laughed joyously, "Martha, Grovyle, and the others! They must have succeeded in helping Nate!"

"GRRRR-OOOOOOOH!"

Primal Dialga made his displeasure known and tried to stand up again. Wattson kicked him in the leg to make him take a knee.

"Give it a rest already!" he complained with a pant. "You're… gonna live on in… the other timeline…" Wattson fell to his knees as well as light started coming from him too.

The fatigue swept over Team Rapid and Dusknoir, each of them starting to lose their strength. Primal Dialga started raising boulders to attack them with, but they fell back to the ground with a crash as the effects of history's change stacked atop his exhaustion from battle, more orbs of light emanating from his body. Yrja and Chad leaned against each other while the rest of Team Rapid just sat down and waited. Each had their own private thoughts.

Yrja and Chad whispered comforts to each other, happy that the world was safe and that they got to spend so much time together, despite the dangers.

Psymon, while put out that he had to evolve, knew that he'd proven his own worth multiple times over and felt proud of helping to save the world.

Regina let out a slight sigh as Primal Dialga disappeared. Despite knowing that her past self would pick up where she left off, she felt regretful that she herself had failed her mission. 'Whatever's left of the queendom must surely be dead by now…' she lamented.

Natalie wished that she had her sister with her, but knew that she'd see her again in another timeline. She wanted more than anything else to send her strength to her other self, so Tisha wouldn't have to constantly worry about her.

Wattson looked at his disappearing teammates and felt a little bad for his counterpart in the past. 'They trust me now, but he'll have to work at it on his own,' he mused. The Electric Pokémon knew from experience that it would be a long time before Team Rapid of the past trusted him, especially without the mission to save the world banding them together.

Ferra was glad that she along with her team had helped Nate fulfill his mission. This team had given her purpose, and what better purpose could one have than saving the world?

Augustus didn't feel much of anything, knowing that any sentiment he felt right now would be reset once the new timeline took over. He could wind up completely different from how he felt now. But one thing he allowed himself to feel was the satisfaction that he'd done something worthwhile after being conned into working with Team Spore.

Dusknoir felt grateful, above all else. Martha had found him and brought him from the darkness to help bring about a future of light. While he knew that he would not continue like his comrades, he still felt at peace while the rest of his body started going up in light.

Yrja and Chad disappeared together, while Psymon followed shortly after. Ferra closed her eyes before dissolving into light. Dusknoir had a serene expression when he vanished. Augustus and Regina remained stoic until the end, knowing that their other selves would carry on. Natalie weakly waved goodbye to Wattson, who lasted the longest. The Electric Pokémon, too, disappeared while looking around at the Pokémon from Temporal Tower that vanished with pity.

The sun rose, painting the skies of the Hidden Land golden once again as the change completed. Temporal Tower even started to reconstruct in glimmers of golden light, becoming whole as it had been in centuries past during the new timeline.


Darkness… the oppressive darkness muted all of his senses. He had disappeared in Martha's embrace. Nate felt there were worse ways to die. Then again, he didn't feel much of anything.

"…ake up… plea…"

He almost didn't hear the voice, but furrowed his brow in confusion.

"He's… ving…! Everybo… make wa…!"

The light that filled his vision seemed blinding, but he blinked as he saw some familiar shadows at the edge of his vision.

"Nate!"

He felt arms wrap around him and gasped, seeing a familiar shade of green.

"Grovyle…?"

The Wood Gecko Pokémon had swept him up, holding him over his shoulder in a hug. Nate shook his head clear and looked around, seeing his teammates and Celebi gathered around.

"We were afraid you didn't make it," Grovyle explained in a relieved tone.

When Nate registered his current state, his eyes widened and he said, "Wait, how are we still alive?! Is Temporal Tower-"

Terrence pointed, "It's still standing, but we're back now."

A quick glance from the Electric-type confirmed that, but he patted Grovyle's shoulder, "Put me down, Grovyle. We need answers."

His friend did so, and Nate paced around a bit, thinking. He noticed his necklace on the ground and picked it up, putting it back on out of habit while he tried to figure out their situation.

"All right, so we're back, good," he muttered. "But why, and what's different? Who can we go to for an explanation?"

A new voice spoke up, "I believe I may be of service."

Nate and Grovyle instinctively got ready for battle while Celebi grew nervous as they recognized the voice, but Martha and Tisha got in front of them, trying to placate the duo.

"Easy, boys," Tisha calmly said.

Martha looked at Nate, "We never would've gotten back here without his help. Please try to accept him."

Dusknoir arrived with his hands in the air, showing that he meant no harm. One thing that the two of them didn't recognize was that the Ghost-type had three diagonal scars across his torso.

Grovyle hesitantly got out of his stance first, "Sorry. Old habits."

"Forgive my intrusion," Dusknoir apologized. "I came to explain what Dialga of the future told me, as much as he knew of our current situation."

Celebi peeked from behind Grovyle, "Dialga's back to normal in the future?"

"Yes," the ghost nodded, lowering his arms to a more casual position. "He regained his reason, and Temporal Tower stands whole again in the former future of darkness."

Maribel breathed a sigh of relief, "That's some good news."

He turned his eye to Nate, who had stood up from his all fours ready position, but still looked guarded around Dusknoir. "Ahem, nice to meet you candidly for the first time, Nate," he greeted awkwardly. "Sorry for all that I did to keep up the charade. I hope that we can be friends…?"

Nate didn't answer, and Tempest decided to change the subject, "You said you had some news?"

Dusknoir sighed, "Yes. I'll tell you what happened."


Dusknoir woke up to a consistent prodding to the side of his face and saw a Sableye looking at him.

"Wheh-heh, Master Dusknoir…?" he gingerly asked.

The Gripper Pokémon floated up, holding his head before glancing around. Light shone on the ground, coloring it brown instead of the former gray pallor. Dusknoir looked down at his hands and clenched them.

"I'm alive… How am I alive?" he muttered to himself.

He wheeled around and saw Temporal Tower whole, as if it had stood tall for hundreds of years. As he thought, the Sableye tapped him on the ghost tail.

"Master Dialga has asked to see you and your… friends," the Sableye reported.

Dusknoir looked and saw the rest of the resistance idling about the entrance of the stockade, "I… see. Thank you, Sableye. Dismissed."

As he left, he heard the Darkness Pokémon laugh happily, as if glad. 'I suppose I did commit to the "oppressive superior" role a little too well…' Dusknoir mused. 'Still, if they see me as their commander still, I'll have to teach them that I won't tolerate bullying other Pokémon.'

Dusknoir met with the others before he shadow traveled them to the Temporal Pinnacle. Dialga stood there, seeming much tamer. No patterns glowed on his skin, and he nodded to indicate that he registered their presence.

The Temporal Pokémon looked at the completed tablet. It rested in the altar innocently with its green glow, but he stared at it as if he wanted answers out of it.

"Master… Dialga?" Dusknoir hesitantly asked.

"DUSKNOIR… I WISH FOR YOU TO NOT CALL ME MASTER, FOR THAT TITLE EMBODIES THE ACTIONS I TOOK OUT OF INSANITY," Dialga said without turning around.

"I see…" the ghost replied. "Do you, perhaps… have an explanation for why we remain alive?"

"I DO NOT," the legendary Pokémon answered. "I OVERSEE TIME ITSELF, YET I DO NOT UNDERSTAND. BY ALL ACCOUNTS, WE SHOULD'VE BEEN LOST TO TIME—ALL OF US ERASED FROM EXISTENCE. YET HERE WE STAND."

He turned around, "I SENSE INTERVENTION FROM A POWER HIGHER THAN MYSELF, BUT I CANNOT FORESEE WHY." Dialga walked past the resistance, looking out over the Hidden Land. Even though Temporal Tower had been restored, the rest of the Hidden Land remained barren and desolate.

"HOWEVER, I SEE NO REASON TO LEAVE THE WORLD IN THIS STATE AT THE COST OF OUR EXISTENCE."

Rearing his head back, the Lord of Time let out a roar that released a pulse of white energy bordered by a rainbow. The other Pokémon shielded their eyes from the blinding light. When it receded, they looked again and gasped as they saw the Hidden Land teeming with life, the plants growing again and the earth unscarred.

"How…?" Natalie asked in wonder.

"I HAVE REGRESSED THE LAND'S AGE TO RESTORE IT TO ITS FORMER GLORY," Dialga explained. "IT IS AS IF THE CENTURIES OF DARKNESS AND ABUSE NEVER OCURRED TO THE WORLD ITSELF."

Regina looked at him with interest, "And the Pokémon?"

"I WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO RESTORE LIVES LOST, NOR REMOVE ANY MEMORIES. ANY POKÉMON STILL ALIVE ON THE WORLD BELOW ARE AS THEY WERE," he explained.

"Wait… but if we're alive…" Psymon mused. "Martha and Nate!"

"Right! We oughta send somebody to go get 'em!" Augustus agreed.

Ferra turned to the Temporal Pokémon, "Dialga, could you please send one of us back in time to retrieve our friends?"

Dialga regarded them before letting out a breath through his nose, "VERY WELL. I SUPPOSE I OWE YOU A FAVOR FOR HELPING TO STOP THE PLANET'S PARALYSIS. WHO SHALL GO?"

The Pokémon looked around at each other before Wattson said, "Dusknoir."

Dusknoir's eye widened as Chad said, "Wattson, are you sure that's the best idea? What if Nate attacks him?"

"Martha had to have at least explained that he's on our side," Yrja defended.

Wattson shrugged, "Besides, does anybody else even remember half of what Dialga said? I doubt he wants to repeat himself."


"So, since I had the best recollection of what Dialga of the future said, they selected me to explain what happened," Dusknoir finished.

Grovyle looked down in thought, "A 'higher power'. That doesn't tell us much of anything."

"Well, we're all alive, so I vote we make the most of it," Tempest added. "I'm going back to the future. I have something to tell… someone. Bye!"

Tisha shook her head at Tempest's flimsy cover before saying, "I'm heading back to see Natalie. The rest of you can fly or teleport the others, so see ya." She walked off with her club held over her shoulder.

Celebi giggled and turned to Grovyle, "Shall we head back, my dear Grovyle?" She remembered what Grovyle said to her in the future, before his believed death. The thought of exploring the possibility filled her with giddy joy.

But her smile fell slightly when she saw Grovyle looking at Nate, who seemed hesitant. The Wood Gecko Pokémon replied, "Why don't you go on? I'll catch up."

"I'll wait," Celebi insisted.

Terrence and Maribel looked over, but Martha reassured them, "It'll be fine. Dusknoir or Celebi can teleport us to the dimensional hole."

The two flying Pokémon looked at each other before agreeing that it was a matter for their leaders and the ones that knew Nate well. They flew off, leaving the four to their discussion.


Nate looked around feeling like everyone around him knew precisely what he was thinking about. He wasn't used to such attention and looked down.

"You're thinking about staying here, aren't you?" Grovyle asked.

The human-turned-Pokémon sighed, "Ordinarily, it wouldn't be a contest, but for some reason I can't just pick up and leave. Leaving the Martha of this time to keep on thinking that I've disappeared just doesn't seem right."

"You would stay for her?" the Wood Gecko Pokémon asked.

Martha seemed concerned, "Even after your falling out with the guild?"

"If she asked, I actually might," Nate answered without looking up. "We've never had a choice, Martha. It's always been about what had to be done. I can't just take off without giving her a chance to have me stay."

Martha instinctually wanted to object. She knew that her past self would never appreciate having Nate with her like she would. The past Martha merely saw him as a very close friend while she herself had come to terms with the true depths of her feelings.

But she also knew that Nate had to do this, in order to reconcile with his past decisions. She understood now what all of his past actions meant—to make sure that she would be taken care of when he left. To leave her like this would weigh on Nate's soul.

'I have the chance to be with Nate, and now this.' She internally sighed, 'Never, in all my life, did I think that I'd be jealous of myself.' But on the outside, she smiled, "I understand, Nate. So long as you're happy, I'm happy."

Grovyle looked at her questioningly, but then added, "Yes, after all you've been through, you deserve the right to choose where you stay."

Nate looked up, "I need to at least see the past Martha to say a proper goodbye, if nothing else. But I need a way to see her without drawing attention to myself."

"How are you going to do that?" Celebi asked.

Dusknoir spoke up, "I believe I may have a solution." The other Pokémon from the future looked at him, and he explained, "Ghosts such as myself do not need sustenance or sleep. I can spy on the past—er, present Martha, and find a moment where she's all alone, then come get you."

"…All right," Nate reluctantly agreed. "But how long do you think it'll take?"

Dusknoir gestured at Temporal Tower beside them, "A few moments for you."


Dialga regarded the group of five Pokémon before letting a sigh out through his nose, "VERY WELL. I SUPPOSE I OWE YOU A FAVOR FOR HELPING TO STOP THE PLANET'S PARALYSIS. WHO SHALL GO?"

Dusknoir floated forward, "That would be me."

"HM. YOU ALREADY MAINTAIN A PORTAL THROUGH TIME," Dialga noted. "I'LL TAKE OVER KEEPING IT OPEN, IF ONLY SO I DON'T HAVE TO MAKE ANOTHER ONE."

The ghost extended his hand, letting a wisp of temporal energy go to the Lord of Time, giving him control of the dimensional hole he'd used to travel back. Once that was done, Dialga roared and formed a new hole.

"THIS WILL TAKE YOU TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD A FEW SECONDS AFTER THE MOMENT YOU ENTER," he explained. "THE ENERGY I GIFTED YOU WILL OPEN BACK HERE. SO LONG AS YOU TAKE THE OTHER DIMENSIONAL HOLE STRAIGHT BACK TO THE FUTURE UPON RETURN, IT SHOULDN'T CAUSE A PARADOX FROM YOU BEING IN TWO PLACES WITHIN THE SAME TIME PERIOD. THIS LAND EXISTS WITHIN A GAP IN TIME, AFTER ALL."

By the end of his explanation, the entire group besides Celebi was confused. The pink Pokémon nodded, "Makes sense to me."

"I never knew time travel was so… complicated," Grovyle commented while scratching his head.

Nate shrugged, not quite understanding, but speculating, "I guess it didn't matter much since we traveled to before we were born."

"And I traveled here to a gap in time, so it didn't matter that the past Team Rapid existed here as well," Martha said, trying to wrap her mind around it.

Dialga narrowed his eyes, "LET THIS BE A LESSON. WHILE I TRULY APPRECIATE YOUR SAVING THE WORLD, YOU SHOULDN'T RUN ABOUT THROUGH THE TIMELINE. SUCH ACTIVITIES COULD UPSET THE BALANCE OF THE WORLD."

"Right…" Nate nodded. "I don't intend to travel in time anymore after today, one way or another."

Dusknoir moved towards the portal, "Well, I'll see you all in a few moments."

"Wait, shouldn't you take a Reviver Seed?" Nate asked.

"IT IS ONLY A TRIP OF A FEW SECONDS," Dialga dismissed. "IT'LL PASS IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE."

The ghost nodded, "Very well. But thank you for your concern, Nate."

He floated into the portal, and it disappeared. The other four Pokémon milled about, while Dialga simply stood and watched the spot where the portal had been.

Celebi fluttered over, "What are you doing?"

"WAITING UNTIL THE PORTAL REAPPEARS SO THAT I CAN GAUGE HOW FAR FROM THE FUTURE IT IS."

The Time Travel Pokémon nodded, "I see. Is it hard being the Pokémon that oversees time?"

"NOT OVERLY SO," Dialga answered. "I WAS BORN WITH THE POWER AND MENTAL CAPACITY TO FULFILL MY ROLE. THE SAME AS MY BROTHERS HAVE EQUAL MINDS TO TEND TO THEIRS."

The dimensional hole appeared once again, and Nate stepped forward, "Well, I guess it's the moment of truth."

"THIS PORTAL COMES FROM THREE MONTHS IN THE FUTURE. YOU'LL FEEL A LITTLE TIRED, BUT SHOULD BE CONSCIOUS UPON EMERGENCE."

Martha wanted to say something, but stopped. The human-turned-Pokémon nodded to Dialga and walked into the portal. Unlike last time, it stayed open.

"You care for him, don't you," Grovyle stated. Even though he phrased it like a question, he'd said it like a statement.

Martha turned her eyes to him while still facing the portal and answered without hesitation, "More than anything."

"You hurt him and I'll kill you."

"If I hurt him, I'd hand you the TM for X-Scissor."

Celebi giggled, "My dear Grovyle, so protective~"

The portal emitted a warbling sound and Nate emerged from it, he wobbled slightly, but Grovyle supported him before he fell. Dusknoir came soon after and only stumbled in his flight for a moment before righting himself.

Martha blinked in surprise. She had honestly expected only Dusknoir to come back.

Celebi fluttered forward, "What happened?"

"The past Martha said that while she was happy that I came back, that she had promised to grow to be a strong explorer, and that she couldn't depend on me forever," Nate explained. "We said our goodbyes and Dusknoir took me back here."

"So you're coming back to the future with us?" Grovyle asked.

"Yeah," the Pikachu nodded, "let's go."

"FAREWELL, TIME TRAVELERS," Dialga said. "MAY YOU LIVE IN PEACE WITHIN YOUR NEW FUTURE."

Dusknoir waved everyone towards him and shadow traveled them for a quick stop at the Kangaskhan Rock. Nate opened his personal storage and emptied the items he'd collected into Team Rapid's stores. With that done, the ghost took them back to the Old Ruins, where the dimensional hole back to the far future still warbled. He then opened his mouth and took out a bag from inside his stomach that had Reviver Seeds in it.

"Shall we?" he asked, holding them out for everybody.

Everyone nodded while taking them and Dusknoir took the lead, followed by Grovyle and Celebi. Martha started going forward as well, but looked back when Nate didn't move.

"Nate? Is something wrong?" she asked.

"Sort of." Nate shrugged, "To tell the truth, I don't really know where to go from here. My plans only went as far as stopping the planet's paralysis. Having dedicated all four centuries of my life to the cause, what next? I was fully expecting to die."

Martha looked at him seriously, "Do you regret being brought back?"

"Of course not. Life is precious," the human-turned-Pokémon replied without any doubt. "All I'm saying is that I've never done anything else. Even though I tried to give a carefree childhood to Grovyle, I didn't really have one myself. I'm not sure if I'm made for peacetime."

Martha knew her answer already. "Well, whatever happens, I'll be there for you. Every step of the way. We're… a team, right?" She cursed her slight hesitance, but she couldn't help her own doubt.

'Nate had been about to reply to my confession, but we disappeared before he could finish,' she thought while keeping a calm exterior. 'But he could've just been saying yes to make me feel better before the end.'

Nate looked at her, and turned back to the portal, "Martha, I'm not going to mince words. I care for you, but I'm not sure about my own feelings. One: I never had time for love before, two: I thought I was going to die at the end, so I wouldn't want to leave anybody behind, and three: there's the whole thing about me being a human before I first met you."

Martha didn't say anything during any of the points, keeping a straight face and holding out in case he had anything else to say.

"So, I ask that you give me some time to sort my feelings out," he finished.

She nodded while internally relieved that she had a chance, "I've already waited five hundred years, Nate. I can wait a little longer."

"Thank you. Now let's go home," he said as they both held their Reviver Seeds in their mouths.

The two of them walked into the portal, traveling forward to the future.


And that's the end of The Future of Little Hope! Glad to have this done, as it means that I can start devoting time to Her Story. I plan to have the first chapter out before July's end, so look forward to it.

See you when I see you.

-AeroJester203